In this video, from our All In Gathering in 2020, we talk about following Jesus, obeying His commands, unifying with His church, and engaging in His mission.
Alright. All in 2020.
John Stickl: Come on. It’s humbling sometimes to think of what we get to be a part of, isn’t it? See, every person in this room is All In with Jesus and All In with Valley Creek. That’s why you’re here. And what’s really cool is, this has got to be what it was like when Jesus and the disciples pulled away. They spent so much time on mission, so much time reaching people. We spend so much time on mission, so much time reaching people. And then, every once in a while, we just get to pull away and just be together, and just have these moments. And I think the snapshot of what you get in this little encounter that we have together is like this is what the kingdom of heaven looks like. This is what it’s like when everybody is here, lifting their voice and raising their hands, and lifting their hearts, and seeking after the face of God with everything that they’ve got. And so, I love it. Everybody in this room, you’re here because you’re All In with Jesus, and you’re All In with Valley Creek. All in gatherings are yearly. All in gathering is probably my favorite thing that we do all year long, because the faith level is so high. There’s so much expectation. There’s such a desire for an encounter. And everybody is like, “Let’s go. Let’s do it.” We’re like, “One more song.” It’s like, “Let’s just keep going.” And it’s amazing. And so, what I want to do for the next little bit of time is, what I want to do is I want to speak to your spirit. I want to speak to your spirit a little bit. Because what we try to do for these messages for the All In community is, I want to speak to you in a way that I can’t speak on a weekend. And I usually want to speak something that’s right to the core in the heart of our family, something that I spent a lot of time seeking God on. Because I feel like it’s super important for who we are and where we’re going. That’s the message of All In every year. And so, this Sunday, we’re going to be rolling out our theme for the year, the big idea, the word that we’re going to rally around all year. Do you want to know what it is?
John Stickl: You’re going to come on Sunday then, because it’s going be so good. That’s what I’m going to tell you. Because what I want to do tonight is I want to speak to your spirit. And I want to prepare the All In community to be able to receive that word in a very different way. So, you’re the All In community. Can I speak to you like you’re the All In community?
John Stickl: Okay, so let’s do this. Say, “I’m All In.”
Audience: I’m All In.
John Stickl: So, speak to me like I’m All In.
Audience: So, speak to me like I’m All In.
John Stickl: Alright. If you don’t like anything I say from this point on, it’s your fault. Okay? You’re All In. And what is All In, and why does that matter? Ten years ago, we decided we didn’t want to have traditional church membership. We didn’t want the core of our church being built around a bunch of people that were focused on what they were entitled to, what they desired, their expectations, their rights, their privileges. We didn’t want the core of our church to be based on consumers. Instead, we said, “Let’s build a community of people who are All In, people who want to give and people who want to serve, and people who want to lead, and be on mission, people who want to contribute.” And here’s what’s really cool. In 10 years, I’ve never heard one person say, “Well, I’m a member in this church, and this is my right.” Have you ever heard that?
John Stickl: I’m a member here, and my expectation is this. The best you get is, I’m All In. So, I guess that means I’m supposed to serve and give, and unite. Yeah. Yeah. Isn’t it cool how vocabulary creates culture?
John Stickl: Come on. If this was the Valley Creek member gathering, that wouldn’t be so fun. The Valley Creek All In gathering is totally different. Because that’s God’s heart for his church. Come on, man, Psalm 92. And if you’re from Denton or Lewisville, or the venue, this is how it all works. It’s the same exact thing. This is the monitor. That’s the camera. Here we go.
[Cheers and Applause]
John Stickl: Okay, “Those who are planted in the house of the Lord shall flourish.” Those who are planted, rooted, committed, All In with Jesus and His church, shall flourish in life. It’s a promise, man. It’s a promise that we’ve got to grab a hold to and believe in our lives. This is why Matthew 16, Jesus says, “I will build my church.” The church is what Jesus is building, not the physical buildings, but us as a people. And if the church is what Jesus is building on this earth, then I want to align my life with what He is building. Because He is the greatest builder in the universe. Okay. The problem though is we’ve allowed the world to tell us what the church is. The church has allowed the world to tell the church what the church is. And we believed it, man. We’ve believed when the world has told us the church is irrelevant and powerless, and optional, and on the fringe of society. And we believed that lie in some way, shape or form, all of us in this room, we’ve allowed the world to mess with our view of the church. But I want to remind you, if you look at something that’s supernatural through the natural, you’re going to be confused. If you look at the Kingdom through the world, you’re not going to have the right perspective. If you look at something that requires faith through doubt, it’s not going to make sense to you. It requires faith to see the church the way that God sees it. And I’m just saying, if the church was important enough for the Father to adopt, the Spirit to indwell, and the Son to choose as His bride, it has to be that important to us. Come on. The church is called the family of God, the body of Christ and the bride of Christ. That’s the three primary analogies. And aren’t you grateful that the Father is always All In with His family? That the Spirit is always All In with the body? And that Jesus is always All In with His bride? That it doesn’t matter the good days, the bad days, the left days, the right days, they never give up. And neither should we. But what the world is trying to do is the world wants to uproot you from the soil that you will flourish in. That’s why the world tries so hard to get you to disconnect from this. Because it knows if you’re here, you’re in this, you flourish. If I can remove you from it, you wither up and die. So, don’t be naive. Don’t be fooled.
I love this next verse. It says, “In order that Satan might not outwit us, for we are not unaware of his schemes.” Listen, Satan is not creative. He pretty much has one play. His play is called division. That’s all he does. He divided the angels from heaven. He divided Adam and Eve from God. He divided Adam and Eve from each other. And he wants to do everything he can to divide you from the church of Jesus. So, don’t be ignorant. Don’t be naive. Listen, I’m watching in History right now. And you can see it too on the news and people on Facebook. I’m watching right now. It feels like more than ever, darkness is trying to pull us apart. So, what happens when darkness tries to pull the church of Jesus apart? We lean in with everything that we’ve got. Come on. The body of Jesus was already torn apart on the cross. Let’s not let it be torn apart again. When the worst, some of you literally like right now, like you barely even made it here because you’re getting pulled apart by the things of this world. That’s a word for you. And Jesus is saying, “Don’t be ignorant. Don’t be unaware of the scheme. He’s trying to pull you apart.” So, what do you do? You come with the opposite spirit. Satan wants to pull you out, you lean in. In fact, this is for some of you. I’ve been using this analogy for people. I feel like this is a word for some of you. I feel like right now, there’s a lot of just warfare going on. Yeah, yeah. A lot of warfare, a lot of resistance, a lot of frustrations and disappointments in life, in the world. And here would be the example that I would give. Right now, if you think of a boxing match, I feel like what Satan is doing is he’s thrown a lot of body blows. And if you think of two boxers fighting when they get in close, it’s a lot of body blows. Pa, pa, pa, pa, pa, pa, pa, pa, pa, pa. But a single body blow won’t take you down. But a long run of body blows, pa, pa, pa, pa, pa, pa, pa, pa. Eventually, you just start getting tired. And what is the temptation? The temptation is to lean back. And the moment you lean back, pa, pa, pa, pa, pa, pa, pow, down to the ground. So, how do you overcome the body blows of darkness in this world? You stay leaned in. Pa, pa, pa, pa, pa, pa pa, pa. Because eventually, he’ll get tired. He’ll lean out. Boom. And you get the knockout blow. “Those who are planted…” those who lean in, no matter what’s trying to pull them out, “Shall flourish.” Come on. Come on. Listen to me. I know the world tells, “You can follow Jesus without the church.” I know most of your friends on Facebook think that their spiritual journey is better without the church than it is with the church. Okay. That’s just not what God says.
Audience: That’s right.
John Stickl: So, don’t get swept up into that. In fact, it’s demonic. Can I just say it like that?
John Stickl: You’re like, “That’s so harsh. But we’re the All In community, so we can take it.” It’s demonic, man. Because Jesus says, “Father, may they be one as we are one.” He doesn’t say, “Follow me by yourself, on your own.”
Audience: Yup, come one. That’s right. Yeah.
John Stickl: So, lean in?
John Stickl: It’s fascinating. The first century church would never, never have thought about separating from the church of Jesus. Never. They literally watched Jesus be crucified and raised from the dead. They understood how much the church cost to burst. They would have never thought about leaving the church. And if you think of the first century church, you think of this Acts 2 passage that we love. If you’ve ever read this, or if you’ve been at these All In gatherings, we love this. Because this is not only a description of the first century church, it’s a prescription. And you’re like, “That’s a lot of words.” I know. Just let me read it to you. Here’s what it says about them. “They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe and many wonders. And miraculous signs were done by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common, selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as He had need. Every day, they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad, and sincere hearts, praising God, and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who are being saved.”
Unidentified Male: Amen.
John Stickl: Not only describes the first church, it’s actually a prescription of what the church, not only can be, but should be. So, here’s my question. Does this describe us? Does this describe us?
Unidentified Male: Yes.
John Stickl: You’re like, “I think it’s a trick question.” It’s not. I’m curious if, in your own heart, does this describe us?
John Stickl: Devotion, love for the word, fellowship, the signs and wonders, generosity. Meeting together, serving with one another, understanding our identity, focused on mission. Welcoming lost, lonely and broken. I mean, does this describe us?
John Stickl: What I love about this is this is a group of people who are All In. And that’s why in Acts 17, it says that, “Those who have turned the world upside-down have come here too,” because they were All In. They literally turned the world upside-down. But here’s the question, what does it mean to be All In? Maybe a better question that I actually want to ask you is, what does it mean to you? What does All In really mean to you? Maybe you’re like, “I don’t know. I just took a class and signed the card at the end of it.” Or maybe you just think, “I don’t know. This is church membership. That’s why. We just changed the name. That’s all it is.” I mean, what does it mean to be All In to you? I’ve been thinking about this all week because we don’t put this big formal definition to this thing. Because we want it to flow out of our hearts and our journey with Jesus. But here’s how I would submit to you that the Bible would define being All In with Jesus and His church. To be All In means you’re following Jesus, obeying His commands, unifying with His church and engaging in His mission. Makes sense, right?
John Stickl: It’s got nothing to do with a three by three card. It means, I’m following Jesus. Jesus says, “Come, follow me. Not identify with me, not talk about me, not just learn about me. Come, actually follow me. Come, have a relationship with me. And let’s do this life together.” It means we’re obeying His commands. It doesn’t mean we’re perfect. But it certainly means that we’re starting to submit and surrender to the Lordship of Jesus. And we allow Him to determine who we are and where we go, and what our life looks like. It means we’re unifying with His church. And notice, it doesn’t say, unified. Because unifying is an active pursuit. It’s not a passive posture. And until we all become one, we’re not fully unified. So, there’s this active movement of unifying together with the other people in the church of Jesus. And I know we’re like, “This one is hard, man.” Yeah, it is. You’re like, “I get offended. And my preferences get stepped on. And I don’t like what happens over here.” You know what I want to say to that? That’s awesome. You’re supposed to get in the church so you can get offended. No one ever tells you that, but it’s true. And you’re like, “Well, I came here, and then I got offended.” Great. Great. And if you haven’t been yet, you will be soon. It’s going to be so good. Why? Because it’s about pulling the junk out of your heart. Everyone says they’re unified until they’re not. Everyone says they’re submissive until they have to submit to someone or something they don’t like. So, Jesus says, “I’m going to give you a church and put you there. They’re going to step on your toes. And you’re going to learn to forgive and move on.” And then, engaging in His mission. Jesus says, “Therefore, go make disciples.” If we’re not doing these things, we’re not really All In. And so, what I want you to understand is what it means to be All In. All In is not about what you have to do for God. And it is not about getting God’s blessings for you. It’s about having a relationship with Jesus and pursuing intimacy with Him with everything that you got. So, at John 15:5, Jesus says, “If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit.” If you are All In with me, because I am All In with you, you’ll live a fruitful life. So, this is what it looks like to actually be All In. Are you with me on that?
John Stickl: Okay. But the question then is, how do we stay All In? What do you think about this? Because every one of you in this room at some point in time, “Oh, I took the class and did the three by three card.” You did. And somewhere in your mind and in your life, you are All In. But then, life happens, doesn’t it? Life happens. We get disappointed. We get distracted. We get busy. We get a new job. Kids move up to their next sports league. We get a new house or have a new hobby, or a new desire. We didn’t connect with the last series. Or we’re tired of the music. Whatever it is, it’s amazing how all of a sudden, we start leaning back. So, how do we stay All In? Because if it was an All In church that turn the world upside-down, if we want to turn this region upside-down, then not only do we have to be All In, we have to learn how to stay All In. Okay. Are you with me on this?
John Stickl: How do you do that? This is the real question, guys. And what I’m trying to do is prepare all of our hearts for this next run that God is inviting us as a church to do. And I want to set all of you up for success. And the way you stay All In is by living with a spirit of repentance.
Audience: That’s good.
John Stickl: Can we sing more songs? No, not yet. Come on, check this out with me. Look at this next verse. This is Acts 2 right before the first century church description. Peter has just preached the first gospel. 3,000 people are standing there. They hear about Jesus. And all of a sudden, they’re like, “Oh, my goodness.” “When the people heard this,” about Jesus, who He is and what He has done, they were cut to the heart.” Remember this in a few moments. “And said to Peter and the other apostles, ‘Brothers, what shall we do?’ Peter replied, ‘Repent and be baptized. Every one of you, in the name of Jesus for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.'” All of a sudden, all these people are cut to the heart. And they’re not sure what to do. And Peter gives them the same advice that they’ve been doing for the last three years. Repent. That’s it. Do you understand? For three years, that’s pretty much all the disciples did, was repent. All they did was repent. They had to change their thinking about their view of children. They had to repent about how they viewed women. They had to repent about what they believed was impossible. All of a sudden, God is opening their eyes and healing the lepers, and casting out demons, and walking on water, and all kinds of crazy stuff. They had to repent about who they were, who God was and what they were… for three years, all they did every day was repent. And so, the advice they gave the first century church is, repent. It’s not a one-time event just to get saved. That’s an ongoing lifestyle. And if you look at not only the disciples, you look at this first century church, if you read through the Book of Acts and you read through the epistles, they’re constantly repenting. It wasn’t just this one-time event. It was this lifestyle of repentance, the spirit of repentance, that allowed them to stay All In for the journey of their life so they could be people who turned the world upside-down. Now, what is repentance? You’re like, “We’re the All In community. We already repented.” No, it’s more than that. Repent. Re means to go back. Pent means penthouse, top floor view.
So, repent means to go back, get God’s perspective on any and every area of your life. That’s all repentance is. It means to go back and get God’s heavenly perspective on your earthly realities. Repentance simply means to agree and align with God’s truth regardless of how you feel. It’s all repentance is, to agree and align with God’s truth regardless how I feel. Because I believe He has a better perspective on this world than I do. This is why, look at the next verse. Jesus’ main message, “From that time on, Jesus began to preach.” Some of you have just… you got to catch this. Jesus had one message. We’re like, “But He preached a lot.” He did. “From that time on, Jesus began to preach,” just one message, “repent, for the kingdom of Heaven is at hand.” Repent. Change your mind. It literally means, to change your thinking. Stop thinking your way and start thinking God’s way. Go back and get God’s perspective. He says, repent. Change your mind. And stop looking at the world your own way. And instead, start looking at everything through the kingdom of God. So, just go back. Change your mind. Come into agreement with what I say about that situation, that circumstance or that reality. And so, here’s what we have to understand. Most of us repent enough for the forgiveness of our sins but not enough to experience the fullness of the kingdom of God. Most of us repent enough to get saved but not enough to live or experience the realm of the kingdom of God. Look at what He’s saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of Heaven is at hand.” In other words, repentance is the way you bring more of the kingdom into your life. Repentance is the way you get Heaven to show up in your world. We have to repent about repenting. We have to repent about repentance. We think repentance… let’s be honest. We think repentance is for a lost sinner who is a terrible person. And by the grace of God, they’re lucky He showed up. Okay? You are that person who wants to, but that’s okay. That’s what we think it is. That’s that’s how it starts. But then, repentance is this journey of choosing to change my thinking and come into agreement with what God says about any and every area of my life. Not just the one-time moment, not just for salvation. Not just, “Yes, I repented. I’m done.”
Saying you repented and you’re done is like saying the fullness of the kingdom of Heaven is then currently in your life. If it’s at hand, it means it’s within reach. So, repentance is how we reach out and grab a hold of the kingdom and Heaven, and bring it into our life. Which means healthy people repent. Free people repent. Mature people are the first ones to repent. People who are seeking after God are constantly repenting. Because they’re like, “Oh, my goodness. I used to think like this. But Jesus just showed me, that’s the truth. I’m done looking this way. I’m not going this way.” Come on. If the kingdom of Heaven, at Romans 14:17 says, “The kingdom of Heaven is righteousness, peace and joy.” So, if the kingdom is righteousness, peace and joy, and repentance is how I get the kingdom in my life, then repentance is the process of bringing righteousness, peace and joy into my life. So, if I don’t have a lot of righteousness and I don’t have a lot of peace, and I don’t have a lot of joy, could it just be that I’m not repenting? That I’m not choosing to come into agreement with what God is showing me here and now about any and every situation? Does that make sense to you?
John Stickl: See, this next verse says, “Repentance from dead works and a faith towards God.” Repentance. Not just changing your mind. It also means you’re going to change your direction. Repentance from dead works. Repentance from self-righteousness. Repentance from self-condemnation. Repentance from worldly-thinking, toward faith in God and Jesus, who He is and what He has done. Are you with me on this so far?
John Stickl: Now, let me try to pull this thing apart. And this is where it gets really important. Most of us are super familiar with sin repentance. It’s how I would just call it for tonight. We’re very familiar with sin repentance. There are sin in our life, we need to confess and repent to God, and get back on track. The word sin simply means to miss the mark. It’s like shooting at a target but you’ve missed, and you’re over here. And then, you realize it, and you feel bad, and all those kinds of things. And then, we got to bring it back into alignment, right? Sin repentance. You get that. Yes?
John Stickl: Hopefully. We can do a nine-week series on that if you want. That was actually really funny, but you didn’t catch it. Here’s the problem. We rank sins. So, we say adultery, stealing, murder. I’m good. I’m not doing those. But then, over here, we’re full of gossip, rebellion towards leadership in our life and judgment. And because the world thinks it’s okay to Facebook it, we have chosen to allow their view to become our reality. And so, we marginalize sin. If you marginalize sin, you’re marginalizing the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus, which you just have to call it what it is, right? I originally was going to say you’re marginalizing the cross of Jesus. You’re actually marginalizing the resurrection of Jesus. Because you’re not believing the spirit within you is empowering you to live a victorious life. And the truth is, this ongoing, unrepentant sin, sin of sin, murder or gossip, ongoing unrepentant sin, leads to an ongoing hardening of your heart. So, if you’re finding your life getting harder and harder, your heart getting harder and harder, it’s because there’s this ongoing… we just tolerate it. We think it’s okay. But the moment we realize it and we’re like, “Oh, my goodness,” we cry out to the Lord. Next verse, 1 John, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just, and will forgive us and cleanse us.” Listen, the beauty in Jesus, He’s already forgiven past, present and future sins. There’s no condemnation for those who are in Christ. So, when you realize you’ve missed the mark, you cry out to Him. He gets you back and align. You’re cleansed. You’re free. You’re forgiven. And now, you’re back moving in freedom and in life, okay? So, are you with me on that? That’s sin repentance. We get that. But sometimes, mature followers of Jesus need to be reminded that the little sins are equal to the big sins. They’re all sins, all missing the mark. Okay. So, the sin repentance… are you with me on this?
John Stickl: And then, there’s revelation repentance. Revelation repentance. Revelation repentance is when God reveals something to you that you didn’t know, and you choose to change your thinking to come into alignment with it. The word, revelation, literally means to reveal. It literally means, like something that was here, if it was covered up by a big tablecloth and you didn’t know what was under there, and I just went, whoop, it would be revealed to you. You would now know what it was. And even if I put the tablecloth back over it, you still know what’s here. It’s been revealed to you. You now see. You understand the different reality. Now, how many of you in this room would admit that you don’t have a full revelation of the fullness of the Kingdom of God yet? Right. Please, raise your hand. Jeremiah 33, He says, “Call to me, and I will answer you and show you great and mighty things you don’t know.” He says, there’s all kinds of revelation you have no idea about. “Cry out to me, and I would love to show it to you. I would love to show you the mysteries of the Kingdom of God.” Okay. So, see how this works? Go to the next thing for me. When we get revelation, something we didn’t know God shows it to us, our job is to repent. Change our thinking, which changes the direction that we’re going, which brings us to faith. Which now, we have a boldness and a courage, and strength to move forward. And then, God reveals even more things to us, which change our thinking, which builds our faith. Does that make sense to you?
John Stickl: Let me try to give you a really silly analogy. Let’s say, one day, all of the sudden, you get a phone call. And it’s been told to you that your great-great-great-grandfather left $50 million in a bank account just for you. Revelation. You did not know it. It was hidden. It was covered. All of a sudden, it’s been revealed to you. That’s going to lead to repentance, isn’t it? You’re like, “No, repentance is sin and you feel really bad about yourself.” No, repentance is changing your thinking. All of a sudden, you’re not going to keep living the same way you are living anymore. You got $50 million in the bank, man. It’s going to change your thinking. And it’s going to change your direction instantly. You’ll now have faith, a courage and a boldness to go out and live your life totally differently. Yes?
John Stickl: Okay. Let’s say that all of the sudden, one day, someone calls you and says you are a part of the royal family. You didn’t know it. Something happened way back in your lineage. And somehow, you didn’t know about it. It gets revealed to you. Apparently, there’s an opening there anyway. So, it’s a perfect time. It’s a perfect time for it to be revealed to you. That’s going to lead to repentance. If you know you’re now royal, it’s going to change how you think. Yes?
John Stickl: Which will change how you live, yes?
John Stickl: You will now have faith to live like a royal person. Okay. This is the cycle that God walks us through. He reveals something to us. If we will change our thinking and come into agreement with what He says about it, it builds our faith to move forward into it. And then, we have stewarded faithful the revelation He has given us. He gives us even more. This is how you grow. This is how you stay All In. Okay. Let me give you a couple examples. Think of Isaiah. Isaiah is taken up into the throne room of heaven. And the moment he sees God, revelation, he has never seen God this way before. In the moment he sees God, he says, “Woe is me, for I’m a man of unclean lips.” In other words, he sees God, and it’s revealed to him that there are sin in his life. He cries out with repentance. The angel comes over… you can read this at Isaiah 6, touches his mouth, makes him whole, cleanses him, heals him. He now has faith because God then says, “Who shall I send?” And he says, “Here I am, send me.” Why? Because whenever you repent, you instantly have faith and now follow God in a different dimension. And because he had faith, now, God is able to give him a totally different level of repentance. God says, “Okay, Isaiah. I will send you.” And he reveals to Isaiah a whole lot of his destiny. And Isaiah then repents, changes his thinking about what he thought his life was. He now understands what God is saying his life is. He now has faith to go live that life. Makes sense?
John Stickl: Let me give you another one. Acts 19, fascinating story, church of Ephesus. But one day, Paul shows up to the church of Ephesus. A bunch of believers are there. And he says, “Hey, did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” And they looked at Paul. And they say, “We haven’t even heard that there’s a Holy Spirit.” These are followers of Jesus. They’ve never even heard the name, Holy Spirit. He’s like, “What?” They are like, “We don’t know.” He says, “Well, sit down and let me teach you.” They have a great church service. He preaches to them about the Holy Spirit. Revelation lets them know who the spirit is and what the Spirit has done. And if it was an American church, at the end of that time, they would have stood up and said, “Thank you, Paul, for the lovely sermon. We’ll probably be back in about three weeks. Next week, we got soccer practice. And the week after, we heard the weather is going to be bad. So, we’re making plans now to not be there. But then, we’ll see what the series is then.” No, that’s not what the church of Ephesus did. They got revelation. And they said, “Give us the Holy Spirit then now. We didn’t know he was there. But now, I do. And now, I need Him. I need to change my direction.” They get filled with the Holy Spirit. They now have faith. And the church of Ephesus is the only church that doesn’t get a rebuke in the epistles. I think it’s because they were revelation representers. They were hungry. I’m serious, man. Read Ephesians. The revelation in that is fascinating. And I think it’s because they were willing to repent the moment that they realized God was showing them something they didn’t know. One more for you. How about this, the feeding of the 5,000? Here’s all these hungry people. Jesus wants to feed them. The disciples want them to go home. And Jesus says, “What do you have?” They say, “The five loaves, two fish, the whole thing.” He says, “Okay.” He breaks it. They go, and they have this amazing experience. And 5,000 people get fed. Revelation. Oh, my goodness. Jesus can do the impossible.
Okay, one chapter later, there’s a giant crowd again. People are hungry. Jesus wants to feed them. Disciples want them to go home. But Jesus says, “The people are hungry. What should we do?” And they say, “Lord, we don’t have enough. What should we do? We only have a few loaves and fish.” “What?” One chapter ago I just revealed that to you, yeah. But they didn’t repent. They didn’t change their thinking. They had the same thinking a chapter later that they had a chapter before. So, they panicked when God wants to do the impossible through their life. They had no faith to do anything about it. Go to the next slide for me. This is where they went. Revelation, resistance, doubt. Game over. When God reveals something to you and you resist it, doubt. And this is what you see with a lot of the people in your life on the journey with Jesus. And you wonder why these people that you look at, and you think, “They’re so good. There’s no way they should fall away.” It’s this, man. It’s because they’ve been sitting and listening to revelation, revelation, revelation. But they resisted instead of repent, and grabbed a hold of it, so their heart starts getting full of doubt. And eventually, they just stopped on the journey. This is a really big deal. Mark 4, Jesus says… just leave it on the graphic. Jesus says, “Consider carefully what you hear with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. If you do something with it, I’ll give you even more. If you don’t even want what you have, will be taken away.” And so, I just want to be super honest with you. Do you know the number one thing I probably say to our leadership team? They get so sick of hearing it. We finished a big series. And the first thing I say is, “What are people doing with it?” My team gets so sick of hearing that from me. I don’t care if people liked it. I don’t care if people thought it was good. I don’t care if people are like, “Yay, church.” I want to know, what are people doing with it? Because once revelation has been given to you, you have a responsibility to decide to steward it or reject it. So, you say, “What does that mean?” Revelation is like once you’ve learned, you are beloved son or daughter. Is it changing you?
Once you’ve discovered the righteousness of God and Christ Jesus, is it changing how you think? Once you’ve discovered the power of the Holy Spirit, is it changing how you live? Once you discover that your hope carrier wherever you go, is it changing how you live? If the answer is, no, then it’s revelation that leads to resistance, which will start creating massive doubt in your heart on the journey. And at some point in time, I’m all out. I’m telling you, this is why you know people in your life. You’re like, “They used to be around all the time. They were like in the group and on the team, and they were amazing. I thought they were the most mature person in the world. And I haven’t seen them in three years.” And when I look at their Facebook account, I’m like, “Dear Jesus, put some clothes on.” It’s funny because it’s true. Revelation, resistance, doubt. Are you with me on this?
John Stickl: Come on. The Bible says revelation is better than gold. When was the last time that you sat in whatever campus you sat at? I don’t care who’s teaching. It doesn’t matter. It’s the Word of God. It’s living and active. And whatever revelation was being sewn into your life, did you reach out and grab it as gold? Number one is, you’d actually have to write it down. So, if you sit here week after week, and you never take a single note, at some point in time, you have to realize, you’re setting yourself up for this cycle. Because God is trying to give you something to set you free, man. Are you with me on this?
John Stickl: I mean, John 8:32. John 8:32, “Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” So, when I know the truth and I refuse to align myself with it, I’m choosing self-imposed bondage. The unrepentant heart chooses self-imposed bondage. And that’s why if you resist revelation over and over, and over again, you become angry, bitter and hostile to God and His people. That’s what happens, man. Are you with me on this?
John Stickl: Come on. This is why Acts 3, Acts 3… you’re doing so good, Chris. “Repent…” you have no idea how many slides are in this deck. And he has no idea where I’m going. And neither do I. So, if you’re at another campus, I’m going, “Na, na, na, na.” That’s what’s happening. “Repent, and turn to God so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come.” When you start understanding, repentance brings refreshment. It changes everything. Why? Because I’m jumping into the river of God and letting it take me to a new place. It refreshes my mind and my soul, and my spirit, and my heart and everything. Are you with me on this?
John Stickl: So, we’re the body of Christ. 1 Corinthians, we’re the body of Christ, “You are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.” So, what that means is, together, we are the body of Christ. And when we repent, change our thinking and change our direction over the revelation that God’s giving us, we’re actually uniting and aligning as His body. An unrepentant life and an unrepentant heart keeps the body out of joint. It keeps the body broken. I mean, have you ever had a joint that got out of place? It’s like, how do you do anything? Well, when we repent and align, we bring everything back into alignment so we can do what God has called us to do. And that’s why this next verse says, “Whoever claims to live in Him must walk as Jesus did.” This is big. Are you ready? Take a breath. Let it out. Jesus loves you. Here we go. Whoever says they’re All In should actually live a life that looks like Jesus’. It doesn’t mean perfect. It means, the moment revelation is given to me, I choose it over my doubt. It means, the moment revelation is given to me, I choose it over my fear. The moment revelation is given to me, I realize this is the pathway to life. So, I don’t want to keep going down a dark tunnel. Because I used to view money this way. And then, God gave me revelation about how to trust Him. And I used to view my own identity this way. And then, God gave me revelation that I’m a beloved son. And I used to look at relationships in my life this way and thinking I had to do all this, and then God gave me revelation about how to build a healthy relationships. So, do you understand what I’m saying?
John Stickl: So, then, here’s the question, because I’ve never asked you this in 10 years. Does your life look like you’re All In? I’m not saying perfect. Whoever claims to have the life of Christ in, they must walk like Jesus did. And Jesus always chose the truth. He always chose light. That’s all I’m saying. I’m not saying perfect. I’m saying, do you choose light and do you choose truth when God gives it to you? Or would you just choose to stay in darkness and in the things of this world? Are you still with me?
John Stickl: See, there’s this really fascinating story in John 6. Jesus has fed the crowd. And He teaches them. And He says, “Unless you eat my flesh and drink my blood, you’ll have no part with me.” Eat your flesh, drink your blood. What are you talking about? Jesus just leaves it at that. And it says, “On hearing this, many of His disciples said, ‘This is a hard teaching, who can understand this? Who can accept it?'” And Jesus looks at him and says, “Does this offend you?” Exact words. Read it. “Does this offend you?” He doesn’t care because it’s truth. It’s revelation. And in John 6:66, “From this time, many of His disciples turned back,” opposite of repentance, “and no longer followed him.” From this time, disciples, not the crowd, man. Not that people who were showing up for a free meal. These are people that signed the three by three card. From this time, they had a line in the sand. They said, “This is as far as we go.” A line in the sand, “This is as far as we go.” And they all start leaving. And Jesus looks at the 12, He says, “You want to go too?” Because truth is truth and revelation is revelation, and light is light. And I can’t change that. And Peter looks at Him, he says, “Lord, we don’t get it either. But to whom else should we go?” Okay, everyone of us has a line in the sand. You have a line that you’ll follow Jesus to that point. Some of you know exactly what it is. But most of us, we don’t even know what it is. There is a point from this time, a line in the sand that you’re like, “I’m not going to cross that.” Okay. Here’s what repentance does. Repentance moves the line. We all have a line. We all have a line. Some of you tonight, this whole experience is like at that line. You’re like, “Waaah.” Okay. Repentance moves the line. You don’t ever have to be worried about where your line is if you decide in your heart, “No matter what God asked me to do, I’m going to choose to repent and agree with Him.” The line keeps moving. So, you stay all in, and you experience the life that He has for you. Come on, it’s the rich young ruler. When Jesus says to him, “Go sell everything you have. Give it to the poor. You’ll have treasure in heaven.” He turns around and leaves.
A line in the sand. Jesus knew it. That’s why He called it out. See, hear me. Jesus loves you enough to risk you walking away. So, He can set you free. Jesus will offend you or He will transform you. But there is no in between. And if you are offended by what Jesus says, it’s because you believe more in the world, in that area, than in the kingdom of God. It’s just, if you’re offended by a teaching of Jesus, it just means you believe more about what the world has to say about that area than what Jesus has to say. Jesus is disruptive, man. He’s literally disruptive. He is here to disrupt your life, to lodge you out of brokenness, so you can walk in the fullness of His freedom. And people who are all in love Jesus and all in with this church are not perfect people. You’re not supposed to be. But you’re supposed to be people with a spirit of repentance that say, “Whether it’s sin or revelation, I am not going to go my way. I go to the all in thing. I am not going to go my… I’m going to follow when I don’t like it. I’m going to obey when I don’t understand it. I’m going to unify when it is frustrating as all get out. And I’m going to engage even though it’s inconvenient.” I’m going to choose to move the line, move the line, move the line. Say it with me, just move the line.
Audience: Move the line.
John Stickl: Come on. Move the line.
Audience: Move the line.
John Stickl: That’s it. Repentance moves the line. It says, “Today is not the day I get off.” Today is not the day I’m getting out of the boat. Today is not the day I’m getting off the train. Today is not the day that I’m going back to the world. Nope. It’s not today. I’m going to move the line. I’m going to move the line. I’m going to move the line. I’m going to move the line. Alright. So, let’s move the line.
John Stickl: How about that?
John Stickl: How about let’s move the line right now? Uh-oh. Let’s move the line right now. Lamentations 3:40, “Let us examine our ways and test them, and let us return to the Lord.” Let’s just be honest. Look at our lives and repent. Stop going our way. Start going His way. Stop thinking our thoughts. Start thinking His thoughts. Here’s what I want you to understand. The Holy Spirit is in this room right now. And His voice is not condemning, shaming or guilt-inducing. If you’ve been sitting here and you feel condemnation, or you’re getting offended in anything that’s being said, that’s from the demonic realm. The Holy Spirit is gently and graciously drawing you to freedom. And if you think about it, maturity is not being perfect. Maturity is quickness to repent. When David slept with Bathsheba and had that whole deal, when Nathan walked in and confronted him over it, he repented that fast. Oh, my goodness. He totally blew it. But that’s how fast he repented. When Peter started getting racist and started being racist against the Gentiles and all that stuff, and Paul shows up and challenges him, that’s how fast he repented. He was probably, “They’re ninevites, bro. Do you know what ninevites are? They were a heathen, horrible people.” Jonah, Jonah, Jonah didn’t repent really well. But eventually, he got there. And Jonah says to the ninevites, “Hey, guys, God is not happy with this. He is about to come down.” Old Testament, don’t stress out about it. “Here’s what happens.” The whole city repents. The ninevites repented better than American churchgoers. What? Yes. Repentance. Move the line. Move the line. Move the line. So, here’s what I want you to do with me. I want you to close your eyes. Let’s move the line. Let’s believe this is a safe enough space right now and God is moving in this place. And here’s what I want to do. I want to actually just, right where you are, I want to walk you through a handful of areas that are directly pulled from the description of that first century church and offer you an opportunity to change your thinking. And choose the goodness in the grace of God. There’s no shame. There’s no fear. There’s no condemnation. There’s grace drawing you to Jesus. So, if you want to turn up your hands on your lap, if you want to kneel where you are, I’m going to invite you to move the line. And the first area I want to invite you to move the line is, where do you need to repent over just your identity? If we’re supposed to walk as Jesus did, and He was a beloved Son, where do you need to repent over how you view yourself? Do you view yourself with condemnation, with judgment?
Do you feel like you have to perform or strive to be somebody? Have you based your identity based on what you do instead of what Jesus has done? Come on, just repent. Just say to the Lord, “God, I believe to the lies of this world. And I want to choose to change my thinking and change my direction right now about who you say I am.” We spent so much time in this church talking about identity. Where do you need to choose to come in agreement and alignment with that regardless of how you feel? Second scenario, just character. How’s your character? The character of Jesus was the fruit of the Spirit, love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, self-control. Where is your character not in alignment with who God says that you now are? Where is your character drifted into a place where maybe there’s secrets in your life where you have integrity lapses or just harshness, or anger, or all of those? Where do you just need to repent? Lord, I come to you. I confess and repent. And the Holy Spirit swoops in, and He cleanses and heals, and frees. And you just repent over your character. Does the character of Christ now flows through your nature? Move the line. Move the line. How about revelation? Let’s just repent over unused revelation. All the things that God has been teaching you, just in this last season, things that He’s revealed to you that in the moment, we’re like, “Wow.” Or you knew He was inviting you to explore that more. And because of life business, resistance, whatever it is, it doesn’t matter, just where do you just need to repent over unutilized revelation? Say, “Lord, I’m sorry that I haven’t steward that as if it’s gold. I acknowledge that I’ve had resistance in my life over particular things you’ve been speaking to me. And I’m starting to sense the doubt and the hardening of my heart in that area.” Repent to that. Move the line. Confess it to the Lord. Agree with His truth. And say, “God, change my thinking.” How about unity? Jesus was one with the Father. And He calls us to be one. So, where do you need to repent over a lack of unity? Where have you allowed division, discord, gossip, slander?
Where have you allowed preferences or offenses to build up in your own heart? Resentment? Come on, move the line. Don’t hold on to that offense or that preference, and say, “This is as far as I go. I’m not changing over this.” Come on, move the line. My own heart this week, I realized, man, I had some resentment building up in my own heart. I don’t want to stop. Because I got some junk of resentment in my heart. I want to move the line. Where do you need to repent over just something negative you said about someone else in this church, something negative you said about our family? That’s just repentance. That’s just choosing to step into the light and out of darkness. Move the line. How about this next one, honor? Where do you need to repent over having dishonor? The Bible tells us to honor the leaders in our life. Jesus honored Pilate. Those who claim to live in Jesus must walk as Jesus did. So, where do you need to repent over dishonor to leaders, dishonor towards our President? You don’t have to like him. But he is the President of the United States. And God has placed him in a position of authority over your life. Where do you need to repent over how you’ve talked about your teachers or your children’s teachers? Or your boss, or an authority figure, the police officer or the civil servant? You don’t have to like it. but God says, “All authority has been placed there by Him.” And an unwillingness to repent is a choice to resist. How about this for some of us? Do you honor the spiritual leaders in this church? As silly as it may seem to you, if you’re on a serve team and you don’t respond to Planning Center, that’s sin, man. That’s dishonouring the spiritual leader that God has put in your life. Don’t make them call you three times to RSVP. It sounds funny and trite. It’s marginalizing sin though. Where do you need to repent on that? How about for our church? Where have you allowed the world to shape your view of the church? Where do you need to repent over viewing this in a natural, secular worldly view instead of what Jesus defines it as something He was willing to lay down His life for? Sacred, special? Come on. Move the line. Move the line. This isn’t a part of your life. You’re supposed to be planted so you can flourish in this. Move the line, repent. Change your thinking. Change your direction. Jesus, I want to go where you go. I want to view the church the way that you view the church. So, right now, I just even invite that into my life. Come on, man. Move the line. How about serving? Jesus was the greatest servant. He came to wash your feet. What has been revealed to you about servanthood that you’ve chosen to resist? Repent on that. Maybe it’s your family. Maybe it’s here. Maybe it’s in the marketplace. I don’t know. Just choose the sound.
I’m going to stop going my way, and God, I want to start going your way. How about mission? Where do you need to repent over the mission of God and your involvement in it? He’s clearly giving you revelation about what the mission of God looks like. Are you involved in that? Are you moving towards that? I’m not saying perfect. Don’t worry about all that. What about this and that? Man, He’s just choosing this. I want to see your mission as a priority in my life because that’s what you’ve said. I don’t understand it. I don’t know that I even like it. It’s super inconvenient. But I want to be someone that repents over revelation. So, help me, Jesus. And He will. Come on, two more. How about giving? Where do you need to repent over giving? Jesus was the Father’s tithe, the first invest that was given to us. And if you’ve been in this church, it’s been clearly taught to you that we’re called to tithe, to give the first invest 10% portion of our income to God. And I know some of you right now, the wall just flew up in your heart, and the offense begins. If the offense begins, then it means something in the world is defining truth more than the kingdom of God. Where do you need to literally say, “God, I got to change my thinking on that. I got to change my direction, because I don’t want to keep getting revelation and resisting that will create doubt”? See, the scary part about doubt is doubt doesn’t just happen in one area. Doubt cascades, and it will trickle over into all the other areas of your life. So, resistance in one area creates resistance in the totality, because we’re whole beings. Move the line. Come on, man. Move the line. Move the line. Move the line. God, today is the day I’m choosing to get into alignment with you over my finances. Move the line. One more, how about just love? Love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength. We’re called to love your neighbor as yourself. Where do you just need to move the line with love? We love because He first loved us. Come on, the grace and the goodness of Jesus is taking the All In family of Valley Creek and moving us forward. And every one of those areas I just walked you through, they came right out of the Acts 2 passage. It’s who the first century church was. And because they lived a lifestyle with a spirit of repentance, they turned the world upside-down. And they kept moving the line, moving the line, moving the line. Move the line. Because of my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways. Repent. Stop doing the world’s thing and start doing the kingdom thing. I will hear from Heaven and will forgive their sins, and heal their land. Come on, Valley Creek. Let’s move the line. Remember I told you earlier to remember that cut to the heart point? When was the last time you are cut to the heart? If you rarely feel cut to the heart, it’s because you’re allowing it to get hard. So, right now, let’s just ask Jesus to cut us to the heart. And let’s just respond in faith to His goodness and His grace right now.